Leo left pretty early in the morning; I guess he had to get back. It was cool though; we all went out with him to his car and then Eddie prayed on behalf of all of us before he left. A good way to leave.

Then we slept some more. When we got up, we went to lunch with Eddie and a friend at this restaurant that kind of has like a Big-10 theme, with all this memorabilia everywhere and stuff. Then we left for Chicago, the final destination on our wild and crazy trip. It was a good time being with Eddie. It’s kind of weird to see how he’s got a life and friends in Illinois, of all places, such that he kind of doesn’t want to leave. But good to see, also.

Then it was off to Chicago. Again, relative to what we’d driven, it was a piece of cake. We got in a little before dinner time. I was scared to death to go there, by the way. Just, I was afraid someone would be there who, for various reasons, might not have the best impression of me. Seriously, I was frightened.

When we got there, he saw his dad, and then got his diploma out. Dave, of course, is a big dork, so he wanted to enter his house holding his framed master’s degree. So before entering the abode, he took it out, and then walked in.

His family is great. They were all there. The person I was scared of was also there. Anyway, it’s a really interesting family. I would say all 4 of the sibling are nothing like each other at all, from just a superficial interaction. But I’ll get into that later.

First I was introduced to the family. I’m not good with parents, as you may or may not know. I just tend to get really quiet and nervous around them. So that, coupled with the other situation, made me pretty quiet that first night.

So then Dave showed me his house. Oh my goodness, it was absolutely incredible. The bedrooms and whatever are cool. The cool thing is there’s this big loft where you can hang out. Even cooler is his basement. It’s absolutely enormous, with a TV, wet bar, bedrooms, even a kitchen with refridgerator. I loved it, because it allowed us to be totally sufficient and not have to interact with his parents at all. Parents make me nervous. With his basement, you just never have to leave the room, and for the most part, we didn’t.

The other really cool thing is that there are all these things that Dr. Hong has done for the place. Like, he’s really into art, so there are a bunch of paintings he’s done all over. The crazy thing is, he tries a bunch of different styles, like not just portraits or landscapes and stuff, but lots of styles. I admired that. I think I saw a sculpture also, but I’m not sure about that. He also did a lot of work in the yard, a bunch of landscaping that looked really nice, and he put in this little pond with Koi, kind of like in Irving’s backyard. It was all very classy and peaceful. Very impressive, especially considering Dr. Hong did it all by himself. I don’t know, he’s just a talented man. What the heck happened to Dave? His talents are making farting noises with his back.

Honestly, I’d say my stay at the Hong estate was one of the highlights of my life. Dave knows that when you see someone’s house, you learn a lot more about them. One thing about college that’s just weird is that although you see these people all the time, you never see them in the context of their family, and I think that prevents you from fully knowing them. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s just knowing someone’s family really helps you understand a person. And I think I got this new insight into Dave and his family that was fasinating. But I suppose I’ll get to that later.

Anyway, his house was nice, and in a coold neighborhood. I really liked Chicago. I thought about moving there. I think I could live there, if I found the right job. It’s just a nice place, with reasonable housing prices, and I enjoyed the weather. Visiting all these cities, by the way, reminded me how much Houston sucks. It’s really terrible. But Chicago was nice, and the city itself I think I liked better than New York and L.A., and way better than Houston. I guess it’s my favorite big city. Although I didn’t see that much.

So of course I had to do Chicago things. The two things I absolutely had to do was have a Chicago style hot dog and Chicago style pizza. The first night, we went out for Chicago style pizza, me, Dave, his two brothers and his sister.

The pizza was all right. It was stuffed crust style, with pizza sauce on top. It was a good pizza, just not mind blowing like I hoped. But whatever. It was good.

The conversation was hilarious, though. It was just fascinating seeing Dave with his siblings. He just acts slightly different with them. You know, around us, he’s the laugher, like he’s laughing a lot, if that makes sense. But with them, he laughs a lot less, it’s more he’s making them laugh. It’s fascinating. And he pretty much had them in stitches the whole time. Like I said, I was kind of nervous, so I mostly observed during dinner.

The most absolutely hilarious thing about them is that they all use Dave’s sound effects and sayings. Like, “huffy, “tense”, “urgh”, “ohmy”, and “indeed.” I was seriously in shock, as they were constantly spewing out these phrases in quadraphonic sound. Even Sarah was pulling out “tense” constantly, like in regards to this one story regarding Joe. And Every other word Joe says is either “ohmy” or “indeed.” And as Tim himself said, he is huffy incarnate. I don’t know, it was just utterly bizarre. You would think (and pray) that just Dave is like that, but it was his whole family. Every single one of them were using the terms. It was absolutely shocking. I could not get over that.

The car we went to dinner in, by the way, was absolutely ridiculous. By far the most luxurious car I’ve ever been in. Individual shades for each window, controls everywhere, a built in first aid kit. The coolest thing was it had this onboard navigation system where you can enter directions and it gives you a map. I guess it’s relatively common now, but it’s the first time I had seen it. There’s a GPS box built in also, so it gives you real time instructions, showing your position on the map. Plus, it’s hooked up to the stereo, so this pleasant female voice gives intermittent directions like, “at the 3rd street, turn left.” “In 600 feet turn right.” “In 50 feet, you have arrived.” “You have arrived.” It was insane, that car.

After dinner, we just hung out in the basement. Dave kind of talked to his sister (who was amazed at my ‘N Sync knowledge), and I spent my time reading every single issue of the Hong Gazette. I guess not everyone knows what this is. But Dave’s dad publishes this newsletter of family news every single week when the children are away and sends it to them. So by now there are 3 bound volumes worth. It’s pretty amazing stuff. Anyway, I read (skimmed) all of them. I kind of know what someone said when they said that after reading all of Dave’s thoughts, he felt kind of like he emotionally raped them. I just feel like I learned a lot of details of Dave and his family in a way that’s almost unfair. I don’t know, I just learned a whole lot, in really a lot of detail. And a lot of it was absolutely fascinating and totally enlightening. At any rate, I really feel like I understand Dave’s family now.

The most hilarious thing to me about the Hong Gazette is it shows how like all Korean parents, how cheap they are. Like it constantly talks about the cheapest plane tickets. Constantly. Most hilariously, the family constantly goes out for Denny’s $1.99 / $2.99 (which is it?) breakfast. Literally everywhere they go, they have the Denny’s $2.99 breakfast, and they constantly mention that. It’s absolutely hilarious.

Reading the Hong Gazette took a while. Then we just kind of messed around. Watched TV, played some Nintendo, and then went to bed. It was a great day. There was evening, and there was morning. The 7th day.

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